Favorite Gifts: Drawing a Tree

Favorite Gifts: Drawing a Tree

April 15, 2011

 

Every year or so, we find a perfect new gift, the thing we buy in multiples and keep on hand for hosts, loved ones or business associates. A few years ago it was Tivoli radios, then it was tiny hexagonal Japanese bud vases. This year's gift-on-hand is the beautiful little book Drawing a Tree by Bruno Munari. As the cover suggests, this book provides simple observations about the forms of trees and how they can be represented in a variety of media. For days after thumbing through it, one looks longer at trunks and branch forms, and even when sketching with the kids we find ourselves adding more variety to our arboreal efforts. Sweet, meditative and useful: what else could one want in a gift? We stock up on it at Peter Miller books in downtown Seattle.

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Modern Down the Street: Soleil Development

Modern Down the Street: Soleil Development

July 26, 2010

In this sad time for the construction industry, we were more than pleased to see this pair of houses go up in our neighborhood. We have noticed a few semi-mods built in our area in the past year, but we've gotta say that they often fall short on the quality. A shed roof only goes so far. But this pair, built by Seattle's Soleil Development, was impressive to us from the first days of foundation pouring. The same week that these footings were going in, another house down the street from us started pouring chunky, ugly, coarse foundations that looked sized for a supermarket. By comparison, Soleil's fastidious and clean workers did masterful work, which continued through every stage. Their building site was clean, their workers friendly, and their quality admirable. They invited us in a couple of times to see the progress they made, and we were impressed. For relatively modest single-family homes, they were well planned, light-filled and livable. We also really liked that they didn't insist on pushing the houses to the lot lines, and each has a serviceable yard plus a few deck areas. So: nice work, Soleil. We'd be happy to see more developers work with this attention to detail rather than superficial modern glosses. Oh, and of course they used Spore doorbells (Delight).

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The Best Modern Deck Railing (is the one you make)

The Best Modern Deck Railing (is the one you make)

July 22, 2010

Update! Update! For those few souls who might have followed our household plight in past months, I am happy to announce that we have a deck railing! Yes, a full two years after Ted laid a lovely new cumaru wood deck, we are able to dine al fresco. We went back and we went forth. We had plans to replicate the old railing, updated to baby-safe standards. We also considered all the other standard offerings for modern railings: cable, glass, etc. Hours were spent in CAD, fine tuning. Powder coat colors were considered, from harvest gold to black and--for a brief crazed moment--blue. But it never seemed quite right.  Then I happened to pass a new house under construction down the street, and their elegant solution was clearly the best choice. We ended up more or less copying that design, which consists of welded steel panels that are side-bolted to the deck and reinforced with a wooden hand rail. 

modern steel deck rail

We had hesitated on having horizontal pickets due to the age of our young girls, but we figured they'd learn not to climb it, and the spacing is up to code so that they can't squeeze their noggins through. While the house down the street sports galvanized panels, we opted to powder coat ours black, to match our windows and house trim. While things like this never happen quite as quickly as one would like, we are quite pleased with the result. And the thrill of our "new" outdoor space inspired our babe to learn a new word: "Deck!"

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Congrats to Virginia Tech LUMENHAUS

Congrats to Virginia Tech LUMENHAUS

June 28, 2010

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Super Siding: Modern Exteriors

Super Siding: Modern Exteriors

April 23, 2010

Being in the business of exteriors, you'd think we'd be down with all the latest and greatest in siding etc, but we tend to be navel gazers for the most part, and check only for doorbell buttons when we slowly cruise by any mod dwellings. Not that we don't notice, we just happen to be very focused on one very small thing. Micro destroys macro in our vision. 

But when I was poking round all the fantastic submissions we got from Design Milk readers during our giveaway last month, I found this awesome duplex done by architect Nicole Blair of Studio 512 in Austin. For once, the siding made me look. It is nice to see color for a change, and the tone and dimensions play without being too much. I'd be curious to know how much upkeep it requires, but for now, I will just say: nice. We were also pleased to discover a nice shot of our Delight button on the Studio 512 website, and we are always happy to find that great architects already know us.

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True on California Home + Design Blog

March 31, 2010

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On Slow Collections

On Slow Collections

February 22, 2010

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Designing it all, or: Why the Piersons have no deck railing

Designing it all, or: Why the Piersons have no deck railing

December 10, 2009

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The First Step

The First Step

November 09, 2009

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(Un)design Classics

(Un)design Classics

November 02, 2009

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Spore in Dwell

Spore in Dwell

October 09, 2009

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